It’s common for women to experience a change in skin tone during pregnancy and it happens about 90% of the time. We’re all familiar with the radiant “glow” that accompanies pregnancy, but are probably unaware of the reasons why it occurs, or what happens when it is more than just a glow!
These changes in skin tone are technically called hyperpigmentation and as with most things during pregnancy, it’s all down to the hormones. Hyperpigmentation occurs when the various hormones associated with pregnancy stimulate a temporary increase in your body’s production of melanin (the pigment responsible for skin tone and colour – a lack or absence of which causes albanism).
These changes can cause patches of discolouration. Dark areas of skin, such as nipples, moles, freckles and even scars often become even darker. Many pregnant women (as high as 70%) notice discolouration on their faces, most notably on their cheeks, forehead, chin and upper lip. Women with darker skin are more likely to develop this than those with fairer-skin. This distinctive discolouration is known as melanoma, chloasma (chloasma facie) or “the mask of pregnancy”.